"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

"Eloquent and comprehensive, showing how your primary love relationship may be a sacred vessel that transports you and your partner to a place of mutual healing and expansion." Robert Schwartz, Author: Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

"The Tao of Spiritual Partnership is a unique blend of wit and wisdom; Dr. Kortsch encourages us to take responsibility for our relationships, while recognizing and seizing the opportunities for our own personal spiritual growth." William Buhlman, Author of Adventures Beyond the Body

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happiness & Our Relationships: The Grant Study at Harvard

This is a reprint of a post I wrote some time ago. I'm sure you'll agree with me that it continues to be timely:

The Atlantic Monthly recently published an article about happiness: What Makes Us Happy by Joshua Wolf Shenk. The article is based on a longitudinal study effected by Harvard covering the lives of 268 young men who entered the university in the late 30's for over seventy years, in order to study their health and well-being over the decades.

The longtime director of the study, George Vaillant, was mainly interested in how these men responded to difficulties that they encountered in their lives, but he was well aware that a mere glimpse into an individual's life was not enough, as it can be "deeply misleading". What is true of a man's reactions to life at age 20 is not necessarily true thirty years later.

Vaillant has written extensively about many of the men in the study (anonymously), and Joshua Shenk, the author of this article, recounts Vallaint's take on one in particular. Vallaint presented him "as an exemplar of how mature adaptations are a real-life alchemy, a way of turning the dross of emotional crises, pain, and deprivation into the gold of human connection, accomplishment, and creativity. ´Such mechanisms are analogous to the involuntary grace by which an oyster, coping with an irritating grain of sand, creates a pearl,´ he writes. ´Humans, too, when confronted with irritants, engage in unconscious but often creative behavior.´"

By the time the members of the study were reaching retirement, Vaillant identified "seven major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically."
  • employing mature adaptations
  • education
  • stable marriage
  • not smoking
  • not abusing alcohol
  • exercise
  • healthy weight
Vaillant concluded that in order to reach the age of 80 in a good place, five or six of these factors had to be in place at age 50. Of the men who only had 3 or 4 of these factors in place at age 50, none reached the age of 80 in a good place.

One of Vaillant's main interests was the power of relationships. "It is social aptitude, not intellectual brilliance or parental social class, that leads to successful aging." When asked what he had learned from the men in the Harvard study, he responded: "the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."

The article is enormously interesting and goes into great detail about the study. Read the entire article here.

You can also watch George Vaillant here on this 6-minute video talking about Harvard's enormously fascinating study of 268 men for over 70 years.

In it he says a number of things I wanted to enumerate:
  • Aging is a lot less scary than people think it is
  • The take home lesson is always to enjoy where you are now (I repeat: enjoy where you are now)
  • Playing and loving and working is what is important
  • Loving is probably the most important
  • Happiness is love

    If you have difficulties viewing the video, click here to see it at the original website.

For more about how you live your life, and how awareness of this can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: More exciting than any other kind of relationship you have ever known, spiritual partnership is a path, a Tao, available to you so that you may transform your life. Spiritual partnership becomes background music to daily life allowing you to enhance the process of your growth and evolution.

This ground-breaking book addresses:

• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship

It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships. 

Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership 

“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." 
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency


For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).

To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here

From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.

Reviews From the Back Cover:

A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:

It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.

Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is Rewiring the Soul so named for my new book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.

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